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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  February 11, 2013 6:30pm-7:00pm EST

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on our broadcast tonight, stepping down. the stunning news from the vatican, pope benedict announces he is resigning. the first to step aside in more than 700 years. as 1 billion catholics are left wondering why, what it means for the church, and who might replace him. the fugitive. the ex cop terrorizing southern california. police officers are being protected around the clock. a reward up to $1 million. the big digs, people snowed under and waiting for help. plus a direct hit from a tornado in the south. and a genuine american hero. the incredible story how he saved so many lives, fighting back tears today as he received this nation's highest award for military valor.
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"nightly news" begins now. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with brian williams. good evening. it came out of nowhere. and it stunned the over 1 billion catholics around the world when the pope announced early this morning, our time, he is stepping down, abdicating. this hasn't happened in seven centuries. pope benedict has served during a troubling time for the catholic church. he says he doesn't have the strength to carry on. his departure now opens up the potential for a huge period of change for a church that's been faced with changing times around the world. we have two reports to start with tonight, beginning with our chief foreign correspondent, richard engel. richard, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. even the pope's closest aides said they were stunned. the pope was expected to address a routine meeting of cardinals when he made this announcement.
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the pope surprised everyone, announcing in latin he was stepping down. i have to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me said the 85-year-old possibilityipossibilitntive. he mentioned no specific ailment but said his age forced the decision and his strength in the last few months has deteriorated. in st. peter's square, tourists and pilgrims were stunned. >> i don't know what to say more than this. just really surprised. >> reporter: pope benedict had been looking frail recently, using a moveable platform during services, so he wouldn't have to walk. relying on a cane. the pope wants more rest, said his 89-year-old brother in germany. he said his brother has been thinking about stepping down for months. and had been advised by his doctors not to take anymore long, international flights, such as a planned trip to brazil
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in july. the pope's decision is unprecedented in modern times. the last similar case was pope sell celestine 5 who had praise for pope benedict today. >> he has given church the last great service he will give the church. he's stepping off the stage when he feels he can't exercise the office of peter. >> reporter: benedict seemed to many a reluctant pope, as cardinal ratzinger under john paul ii, he was known as a conservative guardian of church doctrine, opposing women priests, abortion and homosexuality. as pope, he inherited the church's biggest scandal in decades. revelations that priests had sexually abused children. he met with victims and apologized. >> for all, i express my deep sorrow to the innocent victims
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of these despicable crimes. >> reporter: he met the arduous demands of the modern papacy. today he said that will end in just 17 days. the pope will eventually move into a monastery for cloistered nuns in the vatican. officials say he will dedicate his time to prayer and reflecti reflection. >> richard engel, thanks. for a lot of american catholics, this pope was a man whose name they heard once a week at mass. a relative enigma compared to john paul ii, of course. an old fashioned man in modern times. and now the question for catholics and their church becomes what next. nbc's anne thompson is here with us, with part of that story. anne, good evening. >> reporter: we're in such uncharted territory, the vatican doesn't even know how pope benedict will be addressed after february 28th. when a pope dies, the conclave to elect his successor begins 15 days after his death. but now when it will start is
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just one of many mysteries in the wake of today's startling news. ♪ the cardinals, the men who will elect benedict's successor, were as surprised as the people in the pews. new york's cardinal timothy dolan on the "today" show. >> i'm as startled as the rest of you and anxious to find out exactly what's going on. >> reporter: and like the nation's cardinals, the faithful have many questions. >> maybe he's trying to do what's best for us as the church and he wants us to be led by, you know, a strong person who is of sound mind and body. >> reporter: some express the hope a new leader might mean a new attitude about women and married priests or human sexuality. but church observers say that is unlikely. >> if you look at those men who are cardinals currently, they tend to hold the same disposition as the pope. remember, the pope hand-selects these people and he knows one of them will be a successor.
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>> reporter: but the make-up of the catholic church is changing. while declining numbers of europeans and americans practice the faith -- it is growing in latin america, africa and asia. >> what we need is an evangelical pope. by which i mean someone who declares the gospel strongly, boldly, confidently. a pope with a great pastoral heart, a pope with tremendous communication skills. >> reporter: speculation includes a sizeable european contingent. three italian cardinals and shellenborn of austria. but there's cardinal o'dello scherrer. cardinal turkson and marc ouellet. at the pope's request he went to ireland last year to meet with victims of sexual abuse.
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now the lone american being talked about is new york's cardinal toe dolan. he down played his chances this morning and some observers say the cardinal would be leery of a pope of super power. brian, one thing to remember, benedict xvi saw the impact of disease on john paul ii and the impact that had on the church. and he didn't want it to through it again. >> we'll be covering this very closely for the next 17 days and beyond oh. anne thompson, part of our coverage, thanks. now to a big domestic story in sorp california, tonight. 50 families of lapd officers are under 24-hour protection as an ex cop sniper remains on the loose and the reward is now $1 million. it's a region edge, a police department stretched to the limit. nbc's miguel almaguer is with us once again from lapd headquarters tonight. miguel, good evening. >> reporter: brian, good evening. it's been more than a week since the first of three murders, so
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tonight the lapd has upped the ante, offering a $1 million reward as they hunt a killer. police departments remain on high alert on day five of the manhunt. tactical officers are deployed across southern california. some on rooftops, some on neighborhood porches, protecting 50 families the accused cop killer has threatened. the lapd now offering a $1 million reward for their fugitive, christopher dorner. >> we're getting tips like crazy. we have three times the amount of tips that we had yesterday. >> reporter: today the riverside district attorney filed formal murder charges against dorner. >> he is a felon at large, so wherever he goes, he can be arrested and brought back to this jurisdiction for prosecution. >> reporter: with dorner accused of murdering three, we are now learning more about 34-year-old riverside police officer mike crane. ambushed while on patrol, he was a decorated marine who leaves behind a wife and two young
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children. >> he was a good man. >> an american hero. a tough guy with -- certainly with a gentle side. >> reporter: the parents of monica quan and keith lawrence were supposed to be organizing their wedding but are now planning their funerals. a tribute for quan, a college basketball coach, was held this weekend. >> may they rest in peace. >> reporter: according in this affidavit, after quan's murder, a man called her father, a retired lapd captain to, taunt him, saying you should have done a better job protecting your daughter. >> this is a very can conniving devious individual. >> reporter: with false sightings, police resources are stretched thin. for their protection, motorcycle officers have been moved into squad cars. police taking no chances. while the trail for fugitive christopher dorner has gone cold, tonight there remains plenty of fear.
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tonight in l.a. and three hours outside of here in the mountains where dorner's broken-down truck, a cache of weapons and camping gear was discovered, the search continues on the ground and in the air. the lapd says they are following some 700 tips. brian? >> miguel almaguer at lapd headquarters as this goes on. thanks. elsewhere in this country, weather has been in the news a lot these past few days. last night it was tornadoes in the south that commanded our attention. one of the largest of them ripped across hattiesburg, mississippi. national weather service says it registered as an ef-4, that's 170-mile-an-hour winds caught on video as it tore up a huge area causing major damage, leaving 60 people injured. clean-up crews are hard at work tonight, along with construction crews picking up downed trees and getting the power back on. then there's the northeast, still dging out from a blizzard that topped out at 40 inches. you don't recover from that right away, and they haven't yet
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tonight. tens of thousands are still making due without power or heat. nbc's ron mott has our report from boston's south shore. >> reporter: for the third straight day, anthony came in from the cold to find no relief at home in scituate, massachusetts, south of boston. still without power, 37 degrees, as if outdoors. >> it's frustrating. i wish we had power. and -- but, i mean, i know there's people out there working hard. >> reporter: his crippled down and neighborhood, which governor deval patrick visited today, have plenty of company in this post-storm misery in new england. streets and sidewalks, undrivable driveways, 135,000 homes and businesses waiting for electricity and heat. >> i appreciate very much the coordination and responsiveness, the support of the guard and of the state police. and the patience of the people. >> reporter: but patience is growing thin. as the messy clean-up continues, it's slow-going otherwise.
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connecticut's governor told many state employees to stay home. schools will close again tuesday in boston, as residents in hardest-hit communities are pressed into more active roles in the big dig. >> yeah, this is the middle of the street. >> reporter: the largest in connecticut, where a record topping 40 inches of snow came thundering down. in new york, crews cleared enough of the snow bound long island expressway to reopen for the morning rush. back on the south shore, they're huddling their newborn twin boys at a relative's house, uncertain when they can finally go home. tonight with rain in the air and a possibility of even more snow later in the week, weighted-down roofs have become really concerns, given the strain they're already under. ron mott, nbc news, scituate, massachusetts. elsewhere, a nasty situation developing on-board the carnival cruise line's "triumph" vessel, dead in the water in the gulf of mexico since a fire knocked out power yesterday morning, leaving
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passengers sweltering without hot food, air conditioning or toilets until a back-up generator got those restarted. tug boats will tow the ship to port so passengers can be flown back to the u.s. still ahead, as we continue on a monday evening, a genuine american hero honored for his extraordinary actions, saving the lives of so many others. an emotional afternoon today at the white house. and later, when they're not cleaning up the streets, these crime fighters are cleaning the windows, making a huge difference for a lot of kids. it's a new day. if your a man with low testosterone, you should know that axiron is here. the only underarm treatment for low t. that's right, the one you apply to the underarm. axiron is not for use in women or anyone younger than 18. axiron can transfer to others through direct contact. women, especially those who are or who may become pregnant, and children should avoid contact where axiron is applied as unexpected signs of puberty in children or changes in body hair or increased acne in women may occur. report these signs and symptoms to your doctor if they occur.
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during an outing at a shooting range when he was shot and killed. he was 38 years old. a fellow veteran has been charged with his murder. an american hero was honored today at the white house. president obama awarded the medal of honor to retired army staff sergeant clinton romesha for his incredible bravery during one of the most fierce attacks in our nation's longest war. after today's emotional ceremony in the east room, there are now 80 living recipients of our nation's highest award for military valor. our report tonight from our pentagon correspondent, jim miklaszewski. >> reporter: wedged deep into a valley surrounded by soaring mountains, combat outpost keating in eastern afghanistan was a death trap. for staff sergeant clint romesha, it was indefensible. >> every which direction you looked, you were looking straight up at the mountain. >> reporter: romesha and the other soldiers at cop keating were under constant attack. but in october 2009, the taliban
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launched the most ferocious assault ever. and unleashed a deadly downpour of fire like shooting fish in a barrel. >> 360 degrees, we were taking, you know, rfgs, machine gunfire, mortar fire was coming in. i mean, it was accurate. it was, you know, on target. it was pinning positions down. >> reporter: the americans were vastly outnumbered, nearly 400 to 52. in the first hour, three u.s. soldiers were killed. others pinned down by gunfire. and with no regard for his own life, romesha led five others on a rescue mission. >> it was going to be a knife fight, getting to where we were going. >> reporter: romesha took out an enemy machine gun and then was blown off his feed by a rocket-p rocket-propelled grenade. romesha rallied a search party and plunged back into the fight. >> we had so many guys we hadn't
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heard from in forever. my biggest concern was they were going to take bodies away. we weren't going to let that happen. >> reporter: then the unthinkable. taliban fighters made it inside the wire and on to the base. >> they think we're all dead. all right, guys, let's get them for this. let's show them we're still here and we're still kicking. >> reporter: in the end, eight americans were killed. 22 wounded. but they all came home. romesha's 2-year-old son colin romped around the east room today, unaware of his dad's heroics. romesha fought back tears as president obama praised the fallen for their courage in defending the indefensible. >> that's what these soldiers did for each other in sacrifice driven by pure love. >> reporter: for romesha, the outcome was never in question. >> you're not going to beat down that american spirit, that will to fight and win. we were going to win that day. >> reporter: jim miklaszewski, nbc news, the pentagon. when we come back here tonight, the picture from rome today that had many people wondering. see life in the best light.
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we don't know what this could mean but the french press agency put out this photo from today showing st. peter's basilica at the vatican on the day we learn the pope was abdicating on a day of stormy weather in rome, it should be said. nothing like a recession to bring down the birth rate, and the new numbers show americans had fewer babies in the year 2011 than in any year before in terms of the constant national birth rate. some very positive news buried in these numbers, the teen birth rate down a full 8%. four days remaining until the earth has a very close call with an astroid. it's 150 feet wide. it will pass only 17,000 miles above us. that is closer to us than satellites orbit. and there are about 3,000 of those up there. it's traveling eight times the speed of a gunshot.
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astronomers are all over it. it will go by before we know it. they call it music's biggest night, and they sure endeavored to out put on a big show for the grammy awards. while they did make it rain on stage for a time, it was mostly a middle of the road affair, bordering on throw back when the justin timberlake show rapid. carrie underwood's changeable laser print dress. when we come back here tonight, they are able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, and make a difference for a whole lot of kids. [ kitt ] you know what's impressive? a talking car. but i'll tell you what impresses me. a talking train. this ge locomotive can tell you exactly where it is, what it's carrying, while using less fuel. delivering whatever the world needs, when it needs it. ♪ after all, what's the point of talking if you don't have something important to say?
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it's specific treatment for diabetic nerve pain. to hear more patient stories, visit time now for our "making a difference" report tonight. this is just a nice story about nice people who are trying to cheer up some kids who are in the hospital. as you're about to see, all it took was a little imagination to absolutely make someone's day. and they've got a great idea here. nbc's mark potter has our "making a difference" report tonight from florida. >> reporter: at all children's hospital in saint petersburg, florida, which cares for more than 200 kids, everything changed one day, when superheroes came from the sky to chase away the fear and sadness
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that come with being sick. >> it was very cool and exciting. >> reporter: 7-year-old caden de growth, who loves spiderman, was there that day for treatment and suddenly felt a whole lot better seeing his hero in person. >> usually i only see him in movies, but seeing him in real life is just really cool. >> reporter: at children's hospitals around the country, they start at the roof and rappel the walls, window washers dressed at superheroes, doing their part to help kids feel better. it was superman and captain america. in charlotte, there were four of them. in ft. myers, it was a dynamic treo. and at christmastime, santa and his he feels came to clean and wave at kids inside. for the children, it was magic and very good medicine. >> absolutely. any time we have an opportunity to help kids to feel more positive, it really benefits their healing. >> reporter: what was the reason you were so glad you did this?
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>> because i know i made their day a little better and they made my day a little better. >> reporter: john powers of high-rise window cleaning in clearwater, florida is back in regular clothes now after his day in costume. and will never forget the girl without hair who peered back at him through her hospital window. >> she just had the biggest smile ever when i came down and tapped on that window. that's the best part of the day right there. i was spiderman! >> reporter: superheroes, all of them. in real life. mark potter, nbc news, st. petersburg, florida. >> how about that? that's our broadcast on a monday night as we start off a new week. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. we hope to see you tomorrow evening from washington. we'll be there for our special coverage of the state of the union address, live coverage begins at 9:00, 8:00 central. for now, for all of us, good night from new york.
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